Off-shoring, Jobs and Robots

Rage against off-shoring is very real, by David Kirkpatrick

David Kirkpatrick had written an article about how beneficial off-shoring is for the U.S. economy. In response, he received "the biggest outpouring of letters ever." He states: "I've been given a sudden and bracing education in just how angry Americans are about what's happening with jobs. "

Here is why Americans are so angry: They are scared to death.

Here is why they are so scared. Good, high-paying IT jobs are being taken away from Americans and shipped to India and China right now. The people in India and China who are taking these jobs are making something like $6,000 per year for their labor. There is no way an American can compete with that. $6,000 per year is less than $3 per hour, or about half of the U.S. minimum wage.

So offshoring will eliminate a huge number of IT jobs in the U.S. There is no stopping it, and it will not stop at IT. Accounting, financial analysis, reporting, writing, film making, customer service, billing/payroll, editing, illustration, engineering, design, manufacturing, etc., etc. -- millions of jobs across a wide spectrum of white-collar and blue-collar activities -- can all move off-shore to some degree. And they will.

Off-shoring is not new. It has been happening to factory workers for several decades. However, politicians, white-collar workers and writers like David Kirkpatrick were unaffected. They could smugly say to factory workers, "You may not like it, but this is good for the economy."

It might be good for "the economy", but I have never met the economy, nor its spouse and children. "The economy" does not care about the lives and families of human beings. So millions of factory workers lost decent jobs in factories and ended up in trash jobs at McDonald's and Wal-Mart. Yes, many people got rich and were able to concentrate massive amounts of wealth. The economy did grow. But millions of people are doing worse now, not better. [And, if you think about it, there is no need for that to have happened -- Wal-Mart could pay workers twice what it is paying them now with no downside.] That same unfortunate process is now happening to white-collar workers, and it is terrifying to anyone with a family and a house payment.

At the same time, the leading edge of the robotic revolution is just starting to hit the American economy. Robots are going to rip out tens of millions of McJobs within a decade or two. Simply look at the dozens of entries in this blog to see just how profound an effect robots will have on America's employment landscape within the next 20 years or so.

To put it succinctly: The American people are about to watch tens of millions of American jobs evaporate because of the twin forces of off-shoring and robots. Americans are beginning to understand what that means. And it is terrifying.

The Robotic Nation Article puts it this way:What, exactly, are we going to do to solve the problem? See Robotic Nation and Manna for possibilities.

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